Assuming anyone is still reading this, I apologize for the extended, unintentional hiatus. Hopefully writing this chapter will have served as a warm up for me to get back into the writing mode.

Hermione bit back the immediate refusal that begged release, and took a moment to ponder the proposal. Severus Snape was an unpleasant man, that at least was common knowledge. Even after gaining his freedom from both Voldemort and Dumbledore, he was known to all as a bitter, disagreeable recluse. Accepting his offer would mean spending every day for the foreseeable future in his hostile presence. On the other hand, considering the bridges she'd burned with the ministry and consequently most upstanding businesses of the wizarding community, this may be her only chance to reintegrate herself into the wizarding public as a respectable, contributing member of society. Well, it isn't as though she wasn't used to dealing with his deplorable attitude anyways. Surely six years of practice in her adolescence would make it easier for her now.

"Alright, let's say I agree. What would be required of me, and what would be my share?" She questioned him tentatively.

Snape gave her a cold, calculating look before opening a desk drawer beside him and pulling out a scroll. He handed over the contract and shrewdly watched to see if she would read the entirety of the contract or merely skim it and sign at the bottom like any other dunderhead would do. But Hermione was no fool and took the time to read every paragraph and every foot note. It didn't take long for her to come across the unusual condition he'd stipulated right in the middle of the contract, fixed between paragraphs full of legal jargon.

"You can't be serious! There's no way I'm agreeing to this! Are you barking mad?"

"All conditions set forth in the contract are completely reasonable and manageable, and as such are non-negotiable."

"You want me to swear off drinking? Forever? Under penalty of losing my employment AND my stake in the company to you? AND YOU THINK THAT'S REASONABLE?! What's more, you want me to attend AA meetings like some tosspot who can't control herself? Not doing it! That is so not happening. Have you lost your bloody freaking mind?"

Snape pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. He knew she would be put off by the extra stipulations he'd added as an addendum to the contract, but honestly, he didn't remember Miss Granger having such a shrill voice in her teenage years. Perhaps his memory was faulty but good heavens could she screech. He was already beginning to regret this business proposition, but there was no other way for him to get a business license. He'd already thought through all the potential candidates who would meet the ministry's qualifications and who he'd willingly work with and the short list was, well, a VERY short list. And frankly, he didn't think he could stand taking on the pompous Draco Malfoy as a business partner. He would no doubt attempt to assume control and push Snape out of the business the moment it had attained success, and in the meantime Snape would be driven mad with the urge to hex his bollocks off. No, best to stick with the annoying know-it-all, assuming he could get her to agree to the contract, that is.